Category: future

2016 Rewind: How to be a Saint

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A snarky take on sainthood

Snarky Faith 11/29/16

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As 2016 moves towards it’s end, we’re giving you the best of Snarky Faith this past year in a rewind episode…

A rundown of the process of sainthood. With Mother Teresa set to be canonized, we talk through the steps of how to become a saint. Also, for kicks we lay out our own snarky path for a particular version sainthood. Are we right on or simply heretics? Tune in to find out.

Unchurching part 1

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A snarky interview with Richard Jacobson

Snarky Faith 11/08/16

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An interview and rundown of the new book Unchurching: Christianity without Churchianity with author, Richard Jacobson. Is there hope for Christianity in America? Could there be another way? Join us as we talk with Richard and delve into an alternative path. There’s also some snarky bits on voting! production. Is this a viable third option? Is there another way out of the capitalist system that we find ourselves mired in and yet holds to the principles of faith? Join us as we skewer through life, culture and spirituality.

Tune in to find out more…

Distributism

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A snarky take on distributism

Snarky Faith 10/25/16

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A rundown of distributism – an alternative to capitalism and communism. Distributism is an economic ideology that is based upon the principles of Catholic social teaching. It is a socioeconomic theory and system advocating widespread ownership of private property and the means of production. Is this a viable third option? Is there another way out of the capitalist system that we find ourselves mired in and yet holds to the principles of faith? Join us as we look into this idealistic alternative as we skewer through life, culture and spirituality.

Tune in to find out more…

Belief vs Practice

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A snarky take on belief and practice

Snarky Faith 10/18/16

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A rundown of the line between belief vs practice. Too often we let one override the other. Is there a different way to strike a balance between the two? We’d assert that both are needed for a healthy journey of faith and if you separate the two you end up with something twisted, harmful and inert. production. Can we find a happy marriage between the two and restore the beauty of Christianity? Join us to find out as we as we skewer through life, culture and spirituality.

Tune in to find out more…

Changing the Church

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A snarky take on changing the church

Snarky Faith 9/27/16

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A rundown of how the church in the west is dying. Is it simply that culture is changing and moving away from organized religion or should the church change? Come with us as we delve into the ways the Christian church should return to its roots. Christianity transformed from a movement into an institution as a direct impact of culture and history. With the institution dying, is there hope in transforming it back to its roots as a social and spiritual movement? Join us to hear what that could look like as we skewer through life, culture and spirituality.

Tune in to find out more…

Ministry in the Face of the Zombie Apocalypse: part 8

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{continued from part 7 or start at the beginning}

Survival Lesson #8: ORGANIZE BEFORE THEY RISE!
(New Hierarchy)

 Unlike its human counterparts, an army of zombies is completely independent of support. It will not require food, ammunition, or medical attention. It will not suffer from low morale, battle fatigue, or poor leadership… Like the virus that gave it life, this undead force will continue to grow, spreading across the body of this planet until there is nothing left to devour.”– Brooks (p.155)

Never underestimate the power of a well thought out plan in the post-apocalyptic world. You may be smarter than a zombie, but they will always outnumber you. This truth must never be overlooked. Just like you can never over live your life; you can never over plan for a situation. No matter how simple it may seem; always be well organized.

The second key change the church must be made is oriented around how we choose to organize ourselves. Our hierarchy for leadership and structure speaks volumes towards the heart of a church without saying a word. “Christian social ethics should not begin with attempts to develop strategies designed to make the world more “just,” but with the formation of a society shaped and informed by the truthful character of the God we find revealed in the stories of Israel and Jesus” (Newbigin A Community of Character p. 92).

Traditionally, church has operated under a top down model for leadership and power. If we look at the Gospels, that is never the case. Christ sends out his disciples, two by two. The church in Acts was driven and expanded as it advanced one relationship at a time. Moreover, in a post-Christian culture, there is a pronounced distrust of church and church leadership which is why I am suggesting the adoption of a polycentric, flat model of leadership where ”leaders interrelate and incarnate the various purposes of Christ in such a way that the entire body is activated to service and matures in love” (Woodward Creating a Missional Culture p.60). Leadership in this structure, cultivates, empowers and equips the congregation to be Christ in the community. It unleashes the church to do the work of the church. Church in this way is poised for action that takes place in the streets, the workplace and the living room. It is interactive, relational and missional. For the church to survive in the 21st century, those who follow Christ must become the catalyst and cultivators of Christianity. This is the only way…

{continued in part 9}

Ministry in the Face of the Zombie Apocalypse: part 7

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{continued from part 6 or start at the beginning}

Survival Lesson #7: GET UP THE STAIRCASE, THEN DESTROY IT.
(New Diversity)

“Naturally, many other skills-wilderness survival, leadership, even basic first aid-will be necessary in any encounter with the living dead.” – Brooks (xiv)

When being chased by the walking dead, always evaluate your surroundings. You must become adapt at learning what aspects of your environment you can destroy to impede your pursuers. It’s a delicate balance of escape, pacing and strategy. Always be mindful to never box yourself in. Dead-ends almost always live up to their names.

With the western church we have virtually found ourselves at a dead end. “The reality of the situation is that Western, white culture dominates American culture and, in turn, dominates American evangelicalism” (Rah The Next Evangelicalism p.200). In our globalized world, the church must begin to look like a globalized church. Diversity is needed both in leadership and in mission. One key place to begin this change is by rethinking (strategically) the ethnicity of church leadership. The literal face of Christianity must change. In order to have a multicultural church, you must have a multicultural staff. This is not a mere token change, but a strategic one. Our church [leadership and laity] should be a reflection of the neighborhood we find ourselves in. To reach the community, we need to look and speak like the community. “A church uniquely expresses herself as she matches her deep hunger with the needs of the neighborhood” (Woodward Creating a Missional Culture p.174). For the church to truly be an expression of God’s kingdom, it must look as diverse as God’s global kingdom.

Secondly, for diversity to happen, I, as a church leader must be willing to step into situations of submission engaging with those outside of my ethnic group. For too long in the West, has church (and other arenas of power) been dominated (or oppressive) by white leadership. Submission is both an act of reconciliation and also posture for learning. To rethink leadership in this way, I must seek out cross-cultural mentors. I have much to learn and see the value of being under the authority of others from diverse backgrounds and experiences. As a leader, my commitment to submission greatly impacts the ethos of the church I pastor. The faith we represent is not one of perceived power and influence, but one of humility, grace, brokenness, and healing. We must also learn in this way that submission is the chief posture for the people who carry the Gospel into the world; the heart of our church beings and ends in this simple truth…

{continued in part 8}

Ministry in the Face of the Zombie Apocalypse: part 4

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{continued from part 3 or start at the beginning}

THE SOLUTIONS:

Survival Lesson #4: KEEP MOVING, KEEP LOW, KEEP QUIET, KEEP ALERT!
(Learning to be Transformational)

“Do not investigate any strange noises or lights in the distance. Just get out. Every side trip, every pause in the journey, increases the odds of being found and devoured.”  Brooks (p. 95)

Striving to remain alive in the face of a zombie outbreak is difficult, but it also brings with it clarity and a glorious simplicity to your everyday existence. Faced with a struggle to live a prioritized life in a way where survival is paramount. There is no tomorrow unless you live well today. You learn to become truly alive and cherish every moment when death is possibly around the corner. It brings about an incredible amount of focus to your world.

In our times as well, this new reality is bringing about a wave of clarity to our existence as Christians living in the shadow of an empire. It is in this place of simplicity that transformation is possible. “The Christian movement must be the living, breathing promise to society that it is possible to live out the values of Christ – that is, to be a radical, troubling alternative to the power imbalances in the empire” (Frost Exiles p. 15). Armed with only the power of the Gospel, we are called to engage in the work of the incarnational way of Christ.

Transformation becomes possible when we let go of our past assumptions of church. Old symbols of power, like big buildings or elaborate services belong in the past age. New movements involve community and helping the marginalized in society. Demonstrations of money or power no longer impress this new culture. Power comes through influence, and influences are only brokered through acts of redemption. “Redemption is the beginning of our participation in God’s work of restoration in our lives and the world. Understanding that one idea literally changes everything” (Lyons The New Christians p.53).

Taking a page from our brothers and sisters in the south, we are seeking to embody a faith that is “marked by a culture of poverty, an oral liturgy, narrative preaching, uninhibited emotionalism, maximum participation in prayer and worship, dreams and visions, faith healing, and an intense search for community and belonging” (Escobar The New Global Mission p.15). We are called to exude imagination as a church that tells new stories and reveals new narratives. Our faith is grounded in the past, but it is also unfolding in the present. In our new faith community, it is our call “for Christians to exhibit confidence in the lordship of Yahweh as the truth of our existence and in particular of our community” (Newbigin Community of Character p.86). Living like this, driven by faith, changes the lives of those with whom you journey with. The Gospel begins to pour out on to the community as we journey together as the hands and feet of Christ. This is a walk of meekness and compassion. It is one of downward mobility that seeks to serve rather than be served. It is through this existence that leadership is redefined into the mold of Christ. It is also through living in this way that we become more awake to God’s presence in our community. This is the starting point of being transformational.

Where does it go from here? That is not for me to say. Our church will follow the Lord and begin with service. He will guide us to the rest. “To suffer joyfully for the gospel, and to forgive and serve those who inflict that suffering, is to be taught by Christ to walk the way of the cross. It is only such a church, radical in its obedience, that makes known the beauty, truth and power of the Christian message to the world“ (Ramachandra Faiths in Conflict? p.171).

Making the decision to plant a church has become one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. I have wrestled with doubt and fear. I have also felt a deep call within my heart to passionately take a leap of faith. While reading the book A Tale of Three Kings, by Gene Edwards, one line struck me. “Beginning empty-handed and alone frightens the best of men. It also speaks volumes of just how sure they are that God is with them” (Edwards p.69). Transformation can only take place in the presence of God.  I believe that as a pastor and leader, I could never expect my faith community to do anything I was not willing to do myself. As my family is preparing to pack up and move across the country to plant a church, I’m beginning to learn that transformation only happens when we step out and take a risk. We take the step of faith the Lord uses the process to transform us. To be a church that is transformational, we must be dreamers and people of great faith. We must also be willing to pray earnestly and take great risks. The new way of live flows easily into our next solution for the church in the 21st century: learning to be missional…

{continued in part 5}